The UK’s Trusted Probate Specialists

Cut out of a Will?

The Courts are increasingly recognising claims when there is evidence that the Deceased made a clear promise to provide within the will, only for the will to fail to leave any provision in accordance with the promise or assurance.

Broken Promise Claims : what you must prove

Understandably, the rules are very strict as to when a claim can be made and as such the Courts have established the following test :-

  • There must be evidence as to the Deceased’s promise or assurance
  • There must be reliance on the promise
  • The claimant must have suffered a loss having relied upon the promise

Establishing your claim

Looking at those points outlined above, it is important to note the following points :-

There must be actual evidence of the deceased’s promise. This maybe proven by an earlier will, a letter, e-mail, or maybe an promise given in front of family members or friends. The promise must be clear as well.

The reliance on the promise is typically, when someone has maybe worked for free, paid money in reliance on the promise ( as can be seen in the example below ), establishing a loss is often fairly straightforward as often a mere promise in a will is often insufficient in itself to bring a proprietary estoppel claim.

We have acted in several cases involving broken promises under a will, and if you have been cut out of a will call our contested probate helpline NOW on 0845 568 4000.

A real life example of a Broken Promise claim against a will

Former husband promised share in family home…..

The facts

We recently acted on behalf of Mr T.

Having divorced his wife, the legal title to their former family home remained in the Wife’s name despite their divorce. The reason for this was to assist the former wife with obtaining a mortgage. The ex-husband continued to pay the mortgage on the property.

Part of the couples divorce agreement was that she would leave the property to her ex-Husband in her Will.

Mrs T made arrangements to make a will, with evidence shown of the couples agreement in the draft will. Unfortunately, Mr T’s ex-wife died shortly before the signing of the will which meant that the property passed onto her Brother ( under the intestacy Rules ) which was clearly contrary to what was intended.

The outcome

We successfully recovered a large sum from the estate, as we produced evidence supporting the existence of the agreement, whilst there was also clear detriment to the Claimant ( the ex-husband) who had paid the mortgage on the property as well as still maintained the home.

We acted on a No Win No Fee basis.

Other typical examples include :-

  • you may have left your job to care on the promise that you would inherit
  • you may have worked for little on the basis that a property would pass to you
  • your name may not have appeared on a legal title of a property and yet you may have spent money on a property in the belief that it would pass to you.

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